MA Admission Requirements

Admission to the MA program is based on a variety of criteria, including a strong undergraduate record, strong letters of recommendation, a well-planned research proposal, and the department's ability to provide instruction in the applicant's area of interest.

1. Course and Standing Prerequisites

Candidates must hold a four-year Bachelor's degree from a recognized university.

a. Canadian applicants should have completed either:

  • Honours in History with a first-class ("A") standing in at least two full-year third- or fourth-year undergraduate courses and grades of B+ or better in other history courses.


  • A Major in History consisting of at least five full-year history courses or ten one-term courses (equivalent to 30 credits at UBC) during the third and fourth years of undergraduate study. It is generally expected that candidates should have obtained first-class (A or A+) standing in at least 12 credits of upper-division history and not less than B+ or A- standing in their remaining history courses.

b. International applicants are required to meet the Faculty of Graduate Studies admission criteria for international students.

Students who have not taken the required concentration of senior undergraduate history courses but who have superior undergraduate records in the social sciences or humanities are also encouraged to apply. Depending on circumstances they may have to make up their deficiencies in history and thus may take longer to complete the program.

NOTE: These are minimum requirements for admission. Successful applicants typically have qualifications higher than the minimum listed. In any given year we receive many more applications than we can accept.

2. English Language Requirement

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language):

Faculty and departmental regulations require applicants whose degrees are from a country other than Canada, USA, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Australia, Kenya, New Zealand, or British West Indies to submit an official, original TOEFL score report showing that the applicant has achieved a score of at least 90 (internet based TOEFL score) during the past 24 months, with a minimum score in each of the following components:

  • reading: 22
  • writing: 21
  • listening: 22
  • speaking: 21

For electronic submission, please ensure that you include the following on your TOEFL sheet:

  • Use the University of British Columbia's institution code 0965.
  • Give the reason for taking TOEFL "to enter a college or university as a graduate student"

The TOEFL score may also be submitted as an official paper score report sent directly to the university from the testing centre (Address: 170-6371 Crescent Road, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z2, Canada).

IELTS (International English Language Testing Service):

A minimum overall band score of 6.5 is required with a minimum score of 6.0 in each component of the academic (NOT general) IELTS test.

UBC requires an official score to be sent to us electronically from the test centre.

On the IELTS application form you will be asked to specify institutions where you would like the results being sent to. To ensure UBC receives your results correctly, you have to use the following details on the application:

  • Name of institution: The University of British Columbia
  • Name of person/department: Graduate School Admissions
  • Address: 170-6371 Crescent Road, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z2, Canada

For Alternative Tests:

For alternative tests, such as the GCE  ‘’A’’ Level English Examination or MELAB, please see the link below to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website on English Proficiency Requirements:

3. Additional Language Requirements

Before receiving the MA degree, candidates must demonstrate an adequate reading ability in a language other than English - either French or a foreign language appropriate to their field of study. Students who require a foreign language (or languages) for their thesis research will normally be expected to take the language exam in that language.

The department holds language exams twice yearly (usually in November and April) in which candidates must successfully translate a passage from the language they have chosen into English, with the aid of a dictionary, but without the assistance of a lap-top computer.

Exemption from the language exam may be granted under certain circumstances. Several departments at the university offer courses to help students acquire a reading knowledge of a foreign language, such as French, German, or Russian. Students who have successfully completed such a course at the third-year level or above, with at least a B (72%) average, can apply for exemption from the History Department's exam by submitting evidence of completion of the course to the graduate secretary.